Dragon Ball Super
Episode 80

by Sam Leach,

How would you rate episode 80 of
Dragon Ball Super ?

The exhibition match between Universes 7 and 9 continues with the fight between Gohan and Lavender. Gohan's been enjoying a life of peace since the Buu arc of DBZ, so his fighting senses are not as sharp as Goku's. He also can't sense his opponents' energy like he's used to relying on, so there are a lot of challenges he faces that the others might not. To make matters worse, once the fight has started, it isn't long before Lavender is using a kind of poison gas power to blind Gohan, handicapping him further.

Gohan is such a fan favorite character that his return to fighting form is a pretty big deal. Obviously, he's softened over time and only becomes more of a nerd with age, but he was once the strongest character in the series with a "chosen one" tinge to him. It's cool to see him fight and nice to know that even a softy like him is competent against the strongest people in the universe(s). This fight shares a lot in common with Buu's fight, albeit more technical and not quite as fun as that one. There is a real question as to whether he'll win or lose, since it's a best-two-out-of-three and we still need to see Goku's contribution to the exhibition. The fight ends with a tie, where the two fighters collapse in exhaustion. This was always going to be the throwaway fight of the three, since Buu is such a wild card and Goku is the main character, but I do hope we can get some good stuff out off Gohan at a later date. As of right now, this was just one fight among several.

The important stuff comes after the fight, when Zen-Oh's assistant announces to the actual intention of the All-Universe tournament to all the other Gods of Destruction. Goku and friends had already heard that Zen-Oh planned to destroy the losing universes, and now the others get to hear the shocking revelation. However, something we didn't know was that, independent of Goku and the tournament, Zen-Oh was already planning on destroying all but four universes for not meeting his particular standards. So the framing has now changed from "lose and you die" to "win and you live," and all the heavy responsibility that Goku carried for giving Zen-Oh the idea for the tournament has been lifted.

On top of that, it's revealed that Zen-Oh has already ranked the 12 universes (by what measure we don't know yet) and it turns out the reason that universes 7 and 9 are competing in the exhibition is that they are the two lowest ranked universes based on the cumulative average of their strongest mortals. Even Beerus is exacerbated to hear this, and the show continues to blow the ceiling off in terms of how big and strong our heroes and their opponents can potentially get. This is what, the fifth or sixth time in the franchise that we've learned even the strongest gods we've met have people way above them?

The show continues to hold strong, and I've got my fingers crossed that Goku's fight next week will serve as a satisfying climax for the exhibition. I'm a little sad that the show was not getting especially ambitious with themes about Goku's lack of morals and selfishness, but there's always room to be surprised down the road.

Rating: B

Dragon Ball Super is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Sam Leach records about One Piece for The One Piece Podcast and you can find him on Twitter @LuckyChainsaw

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